This is an interesting discussion for me. The few things that stand out for me are:
a. We should be, practically speaking, looking at a continuum between networks and groups, connectives and collectives etc. and situate our applications of connectivism in a range within that continuum. Each point or sub-range in that continuum (represent a learning formation), will contain mixed characteristics. I am not sure there can be a pure “anything” because there are many frictional forces that come in the way of that. George Siemens also exhorts us to design for various levels of connectedness.
b. Autonomy of the learner is a difficult thing perhaps for a lot of learners to handle and we must be cognizant of that. This is not only age dependent and is one many factors that actually end up influencing the learning process. (one such model is Learning Orientations). George’s presentation on connectives and collectives talks about how autonomy decreases from connectives to collectives.
c. As I was reading the part of the discussion around whether Connectivism is applicable to lower grades in the K12, the thought that struck me was that this is a learning theory and expected to explain learning itself (global principles, like those behind the steam engine). Are we saying children at those ages do not learn in a connective manner? Are there more exceptions such as these? Or are we saying that applying the theory presents greater difficulties in one segment versus the other.
d. In my experience, the teacher (and the institution) is usually “responsible” for reporting on and “ensuring” the good performance of the student. I believe that exercise of some kind of power/control/structure is necessary in most situations for the teacher to be able to “shape”/influence the outcome. The degree may vary depending upon a variety of factors.
e. Critically, not all teachers may be able to cope with Connectivism the same way as they are not able to cope with existing strategies. I would love to research how much understanding teachers in India, for example, and compared across the world, have an understanding of any formal methods of teaching or theories and are actively using them in the classroom.
f. Power and distributed power need to be defined in the discussion. Stephen raised the question in the Elluminate session as well. Also, is there good power and bad power? Sharon Peters makes some compelling remarks:
Once we have established that relationship of trust and accountability, control and power can slowly be given over to the learners.Let’s not forget the element of humanity and what it is to be human as we explore the issues of power, control, validity and authority.
f. And then there is the whole notion of identity and self in relation to power. How do we perceive the self in relation to others? Who is “powerful”? In contrast, who is “powerless”? How does negotiation and transfer of power occur between the self and the other/network? What happens when someone who is powerful loses power and vice versa.